The State of Programmatic Advertising in APAC in 2017

In APAC, programmatic is still in its early stage in several emerging markets, but more mature markets are beginning to compete with the US market adoption rates.

It is critical to have a different analysis for the APAC market based on the diversity of the region. The findings could vary within the region which requires enhanced research in order to have a better understanding.

While Australia and New Zealand are the most advanced markets in the region with an average of 50% programmatic rate, as well as the highest adoption of PMPs, the rate is very low for other countries such as Thailand and Indonesia. Furthermore, the region still has publishers from traditional media background who are still not ready for programmatic.

To better understand the state of programmatic advertising in APAC, let’s dig deeper and explore the top programmatic trends in the region during 2017 and what is to expect in the future.

#1 The programmatic in APAC is reaching a new milestone

APAC leads global ad spend growth globally and is to grow up to 33.4% of the global figure by the next year 2019, according to Zenith’s latest forecasts. According to Magna, digital Ad spend across APAC increased by 5.6% in 2017 to reach $156bn.

The huge increase in Ad spend is driving programmatic in APAC market to reach a new milestone. According to the forecast, programmatic spending reached $56 billion in 2017, surpassing the programmatic spend in North America. Moreover, the gap between APAC and US in respect to programmatic information is closing so we can expect to see APAC programmatic growth in line with US trends in the coming years.

programmatic apacAccording to MAGNA, APAC region has the 2nd largest programmatic markets in the world, China as well as the 3rd biggest market, Japan. Furthermore, the region also presents some of the highest growth rates in global programmatic markets such as Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. According to Ad agencies, 93% of marketers in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore are investing in programmatic advertising with almost 32% of companies dedicate more than 50% of their digital advertising to programmatic.

According to DoubleClick Ad Exchange, The top five countries in the world with the fastest-growing Programmatic Direct adoption rates are all in the APAC region: Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, and India.

Would it be the turning point in the history of advertising? As the technology infrastructure is catching up with the global market and different AdTech platforms evolve locally to help marketers better understand the users, I am expecting APAC to become the center of programmatic evolution in 2018.

#2: The diversity of the region is shaping the programmatic demand

The diversity of consumer patterns, publishers and local networks across the region is the main factor that is impacting programmatic in APAC. The demand for programmatic as the most reliable solutions for digital advertisers to access the local markets with an effective strategy requires customized tactics.

Google is still the easiest and most popular solution for a lot of the publishers in the region who tend to rely on DoubleClick for Publishers and Ad Exchange. Due to lack the ad tech people, skills or ad operations, so they find Google is an ideal solution.

However, the situation is totally different when it comes to China. According to Eslam El Swedey, Digital Marketing Manager at Curvature Singapore “Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and iPinYou are playing the main role in China’s programmatic market. IPinYou will continue to grow in the coming year to become one of the top players”. This is not the only case, for instance, Japan’s 90% of the market belongs to Dentsu and Hakuhodo.

Businesses understand that accessing the APAC market require a flexible approach and dealing with a variety of providers to get the best projected RTB solutions.

3# Singapore is becoming the digital advertising and programmatic hub

Some people refer to Singapore as “Easy Asia” and I can’t agree more. Significantly, most of the international headquarters are settling at Singapore with their marketing and business development in APAC region. While the competition is expected to intensify with Hong Kong and Shanghai to access the China market, Singapore remains the best choice as a digital advertising hub. Among the most strategic reasons is to benefit from advertising giants such as Facebook and Google who might have several limitations in a city like Shanghai.

Another main advantage of Singapore as advertising hub is money. As huge budgets that need to be paid for advertising, the secure financial system and stable exchange rates in Singapore provides an ideal situation for billions of dollars industry.

In the last few years, we have seen more and more advertising giants, DSPs, Publishers and AdTech agencies expanding rapidly in Singapore. Furthermore, Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest advertiser, are moving their regional power bases to Singapore. We expect to see a major increase in programmatic adoption and advertising technologies coming out of Singapore and targeting the whole APAC region.

programmatic singapore

#4 Programmatic still challenging in APAC with majority of consumers buy offline

Programmatic SEAAccording to Google research study which was published at in July 2017, the majority of countries within the APAC still buy offline. The study examines how consumers in APAC research and buy products for financial services and baby care and the findings are not a big surprise especially for Singaporean marketers.

Programmatic is still struggling with the providing a profitable alternative to advertisers. The challenge is bigger with markets like Indonesia, Vietnam, India, and Singapore which doesn’t have the full potential yet for online conversion.  However, the researchers expect the programmatic to grown in SEA region driven by a potential increase in online shopping.

Certainly, some industries in the APAC market are already fully relying on programmatic such as travel, other industries such as services are struggling with the programmatic conversion rates. Singapore as an example has a small geography which that contributes to why marketers still not investing in programmatic and prefer traditional mediums with a higher return on ad spend (ROAS).

#5: Mobile growth is driving the programmatic in APAC

Mobile is driving the highest growth in impressions in APAC region, which is generating a high demand for programmatic. According to DoubleClick Ad Exchange, there was over 150% growth in Programmatic Direct mobile impressions in APAC, followed by EMEA at 120% growth. Mobile impressions grew more than 15X in 2016 at Indonesia and tripled in more than eight APAC countries: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, and Taiwan.

The huge amount of mobile growth in APAC requires a more sophisticated targeting and RTB which allows companies to distinguish their potential consumer and increase the efficiency of their advertising bidding.

#6: The need for greater efficiency of video impressions

Video emerged as the fastest-growing format in programmatic deals across platforms and throughout the APAC. Video has proved to be an efficient way to reach audiences and monetize the publishers premium inventory.

According to the numbers from 2016, programmatic video impressions in APAC grew to 29X the impressions in comparison with the previous year. Programmatic video impressions grew 6.5X faster than the display in 2016, and India and Australia are leading the way with total programmatic video impressions served in the APAC region.

The fastest adopters of programmatic video in the world are all in the APAC region: India, China, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. China is ramping up programmatic video impressions the fastest of all countries in the APAC region.

#7: Retargeting and attribution is the key focus of marketers in APAC

According to the outcomes of the recent study by Adroll, retargeting and attribution are the key focuses of marketers in APAC in 2017. Adroll report shows the average APAC marketer is spending between 25% and 50% of their digital advertising budget on retargeting and 83% of marketers plan to increase their mobile retargeting budget in the next year.

The study shows that the growing cost of development and user acquisition are not slowing down, which force marketers to prefer the engagement with existing users over acquiring new ones who may or may not perform well. Technically there is a gap in this area but the advertisers are facing the pressure of the demand for clearly measurable ROI.

The rise of attribution models is driving APAC marketers to pay more and more attention to marketing analytics and cross-channel attribution. Based on Adroll’s study, 79% of marketers believe attribution is critical to advertising success and 99% of marketers track view-through conversions in this region. Over 30% of Australian marketing professionals said that they spend over half of their yearly budgets on campaign measurement.

#8: What to expect in 2018? AI, Interactive Ads, and Personalization

According to experts in the market, the AI would have a big impact on the programmatic in the region. “Last few years it was about programmatic but this year and continuous years, the market will tend to dive more into 3 categories, 1) AI automated optimization based on Life Time Value LTV. 2) The interactive ad types like Facebook full page ad and Instagram stories. 3) Personalization will play an effective role as personalized dynamic banners give seamless experience. This improving conversion rate.” said JK, a consultant and marketing strategist.

To conclude, APAC has a strong programmatic growth potential but it has also a number of fatal limitations, such as lack of qualified talents, extremely diverse and fragmented local ad networks, issues with access to consumer data, and difficulty to scale RTB transactions. The region still requires a more solid understanding of the importance and benefits of programmatic advertising.

The advantage of programmatic reach is currently critical for APAC marketers to increase conversion rates and decrease the number of resources required to cover this geographically large region. Targeting different locales with such diversity of languages, networks, and consumer behavior are pushing for further procedures in terms of buying audience on premium publishers or local networks and connect a simpler activation on both sides. This demand will keep pushing towards a higher rate of programmatic adoption and budget share coming from performance marketing teams in the region.

Share your insights and thoughts on the topic and write down what do you think will be a key trend? What is the next big thing will shift this market?

How the Facebook’s Latest Update Will Change Your Social Media Marketing

New year’s first big news came from Facebook. This week Facebook announced a drastic change to their newsfeed algorithm. According to Mark Zuckerberg, the users will see a lot fewer posts from business pages and more content from their friends and family.

As Facebook revamps its news feed, marketers should change the way they build their social media strategies. The major shift is not going to be only limited to the Facebook Business Pages but should revisit all their social media activities from organic reach to advertisement spending.

Why Facebook’s update is going to change the way we look at social media marketing?

There are many things, I could predict as a marketer, which would have a huge impact on the main principles of social media marketing and shift the game of digital marketing.

1. The decline of Organic Reach

The new update will bring a major flat out of business pages. We expect to see a major decline in organic reach, likes, video watch time, and even referral traffic from Facebook. In 2017 we were able to see the ongoing decrease in organic reach and many social media marketers have announced the death of organic, but today we have to say that Facebook just signed the death certificate.

For several years, brands and even small businesses have been focusing on Facebook Pages as the biggest social channel to drive traffic. They invested thousands and millions of dollars to increase their followers base and engagement rates. Check the comment on Mark’s post from our fellow angry marketer below:

Facebook Update change

Conclusion: The best advice here, let’s face the fact and find out how to adjust the social media strategy for 2018. Relying on Facebook content shouldn’t be your marketing priority anymore.

Focus on how to divide your efforts between channels, design your content differently, and benefit from YouTube videos, Blogs, Twitter. Move engagement to your website via conversion optimization, landing pages personalization, and never underestimate the power of SEO.

2. The cost of Advertising on Facebook will increase

As more businesses will try to struggle and protect their years of investment in Facebook, the cost of advertising will increase over time. I won’t be optimistic about that and I believe that the game will be more like Google PPC where the bidding for first places could be very high based on competitions.

Why do I assume that? It’s simple mathematics for advertisement business: Less time on Facebook and fewer ads can only mean Ads will be more expensive. To explain that let me give you two basic reasons; 1st we all know that Facebook is trying to maximize the profit for each click paid by advertisers. On the 2nd, Facebook is now the biggest player in the game with access to billions of users on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The brands are willing to fight even harder to be seen in the newsfeed and stay engaged with their audiences.

Conclusion: With the higher competition, you need to be aware that poorly performing ad sets, bad creatives, poor copies, or irrelevant targeting are going to cause a huge hole in your advertising budget. We all believe that Facebook is very strong when it comes to machine learning and targeting algorithms, but your ads should stand out among competitors to avoid losing money and poor results.

3. Social Media Channels will play different roles

As we know in the past, marketers used to focus on the relevant social networks that can drive leads. Now, these efforts will get more attention and will be the center focus of the marketing strategy. We believe now that marketers and stakeholders will shift their budgets to other social networks that are safer than Facebook Pages. I have seen in the last 3 years a huge increase in Instagram and Snapchat ads which is precisely focused on Stories. Despite the fact that the majority of sponsored stories are more like Ads than stories but the trend is getting higher and going to be one of the top mediums for marketers.

Targeting different segmentations on different social networks will enhance the quality of brands’ content. I believe in 2018 brands will curate more appealing content for what they used to call as secondary channels. This year the presence of brands on all social networks will be more consistent and relevant to the type of audience.

As Mark says “A world that’s changing really quickly”, thanks man and we just received it!

Conclusion: No, you cannot stop your Facebook campaigns because of the updates, yet you have to be more creative and entertaining. You should master the roles of each social network and design content for each platform separately. This year and upcoming years will require much more than a nice video or graphics that will go viral on Facebook. Real work is required and long-living ideas for campaigns.

Fellow marketers, you’re going to have to figure out a way to get people to take interest in what you say without giving away freebies or asking for shares and likes to enter a contest.

Organic social reach will be tested heavily this year and marketers should be very particular about media planning.

7 Advanced Strategies to Improve The Marketing Funnel

While the consumer journey today doesn’t look a lot like a funnel, it’s still critical to plan your communications and activities in multiple stages. The major mistake you can make is to plan each phase in a silo, and not figure out how to design and analyze each phase? how they’re connected? and how the marketing channels impact each phase?

Before highlighting the top strategies for managing the marketing funnel, let’s start with understanding the function of the marketing funnel.

Understanding the marketing funnel

The marketing funnel is a tool that helps you visualize the online journey or the path a prospect takes throughout your campaigns, from an introduction (awareness) to a lead ( consideration ) to a client (conversion) and hopefully beyond (advocacy, loyalty or retention).

Because there will always be prospects that exit your funnel without converting. The role of marketers is to increase the number of prospects that enter the top of the marketing funnel and decrease the percentage of prospects that exit each stage of the funnel.

marketing funnel yasser ahmad

How does it work? The prospects either descends into the next stage of the funnel when their interest increases or they exit the funnel when they lose interest. Usually, fewer end up purchasing and even fewer turning into loyal clients (that’s why the funnel is wider at the top).

Why is the marketing funnel highly important? There are three main reasons for that:

  1. Understanding the marketing funnel allows marketers to see where you are losing customers. Between each stage, the marketers can measure the percentage of drop-outs and indicate the gaps.
  2. Implement growth hacking tactics by a using “widening the funnel” tactics.
  3. The quality of the marketing funnel is the main engine for cost efficiency and ROI.

Top Strategies to Improve the Marketing Funnel

1. Analyze the objectives of each stage: The key for each phase shouldn’t be to jump to the next one, it should be based on understanding the individual objective of each phase. Don’t stick to the main structure of the funnel and divided each stage into even smaller stages based on your consumer analysis and product. Adapt the funnel phases accordingly and you may end up having 6 or 7. If standard funnels worked for every product and consumer base, marketers would be out of a job.

2.  Set KPIs for each stage of your marketing funnel: Have a conversion strategy for each stage of your marketing funnel. It is a mistake if you only monitor only the value of conversion at the lower funnel. The key to improving any marketing funnel is to establish key metrics for each phase to measure effectiveness. Obsess over drop-offs, they’re the biggest indicator of the ineffectiveness of the communications in a phase.

3. Pay attention to the middle funnel: It is a critical mistake when CMOs sometimes doesn’t pay attention to the middle funnel (Consideration). The middle funnel is the key to improve the lower funnel rates. Strategically, improving the quality of middle funnel can maintain a less expensive budget for the upper funnel. Invest in conversion optimization, A/B testing, personalization and lead nurturing is the most effective approach to fix your big gap between the higher funnel and lower funnel.

4. Build a meaningful journey, not phases: Take your customer on a journey that they would like to go through. Marketers are sometimes planning their journey as phases or basic stages without a connection. Don’t imagine that your clients will follow your logic, they would need something meaningful to through instead of making them jump from phase to phase.

5. The objective of each phase needs to be consumer-focused. Not brand-focused: The journey is about your consumer, and you’re a part of it. Let the consumer drive through your funnel smoothly and organically. Avoid being an advertiser all the time and sales oriented. The more value you add to them, the more enhanced your funnel is.

marketing funnel

6. Different channels play different roles in each stage: Understand the impact of each marketing channels on each stage of your funnel. For instance, content marketing or organic can have a lower impact on upper funnel but play an effective role on the middle funnel. Connect the dots between the marketing channels and your funnel and empower your strategy with better tactics for acquisition.

7. Let the funnel grow and mature: Don’t rush into building insights so quickly. Give your funnel the proper time span to be able to analyze accurately. With every change in your marketing activities and channels, the impact on funnel wouldn’t come the next morning. You’ll need to be wise with monitoring the funnel changes and wait for consumer impact over time.  The bigger your consumer base the longer it takes to see the changes in the funnel.

Share your experience with improving the market funnel tactics or let me know your feedback.


2017 Trends Report: The Top Online Statistics in Egypt

Egypt had the most significant growth in internet users and social media in 2017. This report is providing an overview of the top online stats and trends collected from the most recent releases and annual reports. Let’s start with the top highlights and an infographic which illustrates the year in figures.

Highlights of 2017: Online and social media statistics in Egypt

  • Internet users: Internet user penetration in Egypt reached 48% in 2017 with an estimated number of 45 million. (Statista)
  • Mobile Users: Mobile subscribers have reached 110.06 million in September 2017. (MCIT)
  • Smartphone Users: The statistics show that 26.3 million Egyptians are using smartphones. (Statista)
  • Online Behavior: Using the internet as a search tool came on top of internet usage activities at 78%, while social communication came in second place with 77%. (eMarketing Report)
  • Google Search: The most famous search queries on Google for the year is “Results of primary certificate, World Cup draw” while the most famous figure in the search is “Mahmoud Al-Khatib”. (Google 2017 Report)
  • Local Websites: The top preferred local sites in Egypt are “,,”. The most popular categories still dominated by news and sports portals while online shopping had a major increase this year. (Alexa)
  • Facebook: 37 million Egyptians access Facebook every month with over 22 million or 59% of monthly active people return every day. (Facebook Q3 2017 report)
  • LinkedIn: The number of LinkedIn accounts estimated with 2.42 million users with a penetration rate 2.6%. 74.5% of users under the age of 35. (Arab Social Media Report 2017)
  • Twitter: On monthly average 151 million tweets generated in Egypt. Average for active Twitter users in Egypt account for 1.7 million. (Arab Social Media Report 2017)
  • Instagram: Instagram is taking over the Twitter place and becoming the 2nd popular social network for Egyptian with 2.7 million. Instagram is now the top platform for many industries such as fashion, events, and travel. (Social@Ogvily)

Egypt infographic 2017 social media yasser ahmad Infographic: Egypt Digital Report 2017

Egyptians addicted to social media

According to a new research, Egyptians are addicted to social media. More than 14 million of Egyptians are very active on social networks can’t stop posting, chatting and Liking everything in sight. Unsurprisingly the largest age group for Facebook usage is currently 18-24, followed by the users in the age of 25-34. And both sexes are logging on for their social media fix as 64% male users and 36% female users in Egypt sign in.

Internet and Mobile in Egypt

Internet user penetration in Egypt reached 48% in 2017 with an estimated number of 45 million. This share is projected to grow to 50.8% in 2018. Egypt rate is getting closer to the global Internet penetration rate which is estimated at 49.2%.(Statista Report)

Mobile subscribers have reached 110.06 million in September 2017. The telecommunication market in Egypt had two major events this year including the launch of 4G and “We” which is the 4th mobile operator. (MCIT report)

81% of internet users in Egypt cannot live internet

Internet in EgyptThe internet has become a very important platform, especially as 81% of internet users in Egypt say that they cannot live without it. Meanwhile, 87% of users explained that the most important benefit they get from the internet is having access to learning opportunities.(eMarketing Egypt published its 8th annual report “visions for e-marketing in Egypt”)

In this context, the report stated that about 64% of users are males, while females represent about 36%, with females being younger than male users on the average. The report added that the proportion of female users who are under the age of 25 represent about 51% of users.

Google Release Egypt’s “Year in Search” for 2017

Google EgyptGoogle announced on 13 December 2017, its annual Year in Search results showcasing the most trending topics Egyptians searched for the year. There are many interesting facts to explore through the lens of Google Search — from Egypt’s qualification to the 2018 World Cup, to the passing of the iconic artist Shadia, this year’s results are reflective of what truly captured the Egyptians attention over the past year.

Similar to last year, school examinations topped the most trending searches list along with the electricity bills. This was an important year for football in Egypt, with the World Cup, Al Ahly elections, African league and Mohammed Salah, sports-related queries topping the news events and general searches list. Also, four sports personalities were in the top 10 trending people list, which was topped by Al Ahly Club’s new president Mahmoud Al Khatib.

The news events list was mainly dominated by local events such as the Al Wahat Attack. Similarly, the top trending songs list was topped by Cairokee’s and Tarek El Sheikh’s Al Keif, followed by Despacito.

The following are the main research topics in Egypt in 2017: 

Top search queries in Egypt

  1. Results of primary certificate
  2. World Cup draw
  3. Musalsal silisal aldam
  4. Alkayf song
  5. Professional Academy for Teachers
  6. Egyptian Knowledge Bank
  7. Match Egypt vs Cameroon
  8. Despacito
  9. Ahli Club elections
  10. Burma

Famous figures

  • Mahmoud Al-Khatib
  • Ahmed Shafiq
  • Elissa
  • Gamila Awad
  • Abdel Salam


  • Ahli Club elections
  • Shadia’s funeral
  • Oasis Incident


  • Alkayf
  • Despacito
  • Eileab yala
  • Mizmar ebd alsalam

TV Shows

  • Silisal Aldam
  • Kafr Dehlab
  • Ramez Ttaht El’ard


  • Jawab Eietiqal
  • Hurub Etrary
  • Mawlana


  • Egypt vs Cameroon match
  • Al-Ahly vs Al-Tarji match


  • The sun will never set
  • The game of thrones

Facebook trends in Egypt


According to eMarketing 2017 report, about 92% of Facebook users in Egypt use it on a daily basis, and 60% of users asserted that the highest rates of activity came in “the late evening”.

Moreover, 92% of Facebook users use it primarily to connect with friends and family, while acquiring knowledge or getting tips and social networking comes next for about 85% of users. Interaction with friends’ posts comes at the top of Facebook users’ activities on the website, representing 62%.

The report findings declared Facebook as one of the most popular marketing tools in Egypt, and that, in turn, ‘likes’ for commercial pages are primarily for the purpose of obtaining discounts, offers, and gifts for about 33% of users. Meanwhile, following news and new content received about the same proportion of users.

Facebook, Inc. reported financial results for the 3rd quarter of 2017. The social media giant released the third quarter 2017 results on November 1, 2017. The following statistics highlight some of the top Facebook statistics in the MEA region (The Middle East & Africa):

  • Egypt: 37 million people access Facebook every month with over 22 million or 59% of monthly active people return every day.
  • According to the reports, Facebook continues to grow in the MEA region. Egypt still represents the highest daily rate for users with over 22 million users a month.

Twitter top trends in Egypt:


Twitter is becoming less popular for Egyptians with Instagram rising. Egyptians with Saudi generated more than 54% of tweets in the Arab region. Football players and media celebrities are among the most popular buzz on Twitter while political news and figures are declining this year.

  • On monthly average 151 million tweets generated in Egypt.
  • Average for active Twitter users in Egypt account for 1.7 million. (Arab Social Media Report 2017)

According to the latest report from Twitter. In 2017, the most retweeted tweets in Egypt were released by Egyptian comedian Mohamed Heneidi. During a question-and-answer session last June, a fan asked the actor how many retweets would make him start working on the 2nd episode of the movie “Se’edi fil Jama Al Amreikia”, which was answered by @OfficialHenedy with 100,000 retweets, (Reached more than 110 thousand retweets).

The Egyptian comedian Mohamed Heneidi comes with the famous football player Abu Trika as the most popular figures on Twitter during 2017. Their tweets come in the top five tweets of the year.

The most popular athletes on Twitter in Egypt

  • @ 22mosalah Mohamed Saleh, Egyptian football player
  • @Trikaoficial Mohammed Abu Trika, a former Egyptian football player
  • @Midoahm Mido, a former Egyptian football player

The most popular cultural words in Egypt

  1.  #art
  2. #photography
  3. #love
  4. #camera
  5. #music

Digital advertising in Egypt

According to eMarketing survey, about 26% of internet users in Egypt like to follow e-advertising while only about 20% trust them. 32% of internet users trust the technology sector’s electronic advertising, while 34% trust the telecommunications sector, 27% trust fashion, 62% trust home appliances, and 25% do not trust e-advertising in the financial sector.

The report explained that 10% of internet users pointed out that e-advertisements have never caught their attention.

  • The last year predictions, estimated the digital advertising spend in 2017 to exceed 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($56 million).
  • Facebook and Youtube are getting the highest increase in advertising vs search and display due to the media investment in YouTube advertising while telecommunication, real estate, and small business are focused on Facebook and Instagram.

Top digital events and news

RiseUp Summit is the top destination for Egyptian entrepreneurs

riseup summit 2017 egypt
RiseUp Summit 2017 continues to drive attention to the Egyptian Entrepreneurs. The RiseUp platform has become the leading connector between local startups and international networks, resources, and the world’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

For the second year, the RiseUp summit has sent promising local startups and their entrepreneurs to international waters, this time sending 9 to Berlin, Germany to attend Tech Open Air (TOA). The TOA is Europe’s leading interdisciplinary technology festival. This year’s 9 startups were: KiliimGoodsMartVoxEraRaknaInstabugJereedMermaidTrevxMoneyFellows.

This year’s RiseUp Explore was organized in partnership with enpact and enabled by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit. Flat6Labs, Accelerator Company and the key player in the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Egypt, closed EGP 100 million funds with the support of the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation. This fund marks a significant growth for Egyptian entrepreneurs and startups that will put Egypt on the global entrepreneurship map.

Egypt launches the “World Youth Forum”

world youth forum 2017The World Youth Forum (WYF) just kicked off in the town of Sharm El-Sheikh, attracting thousands of Egyptian and foreign youth from around the world. The seven-day gathering will witness the participation of official youth representatives aging over 18 years old, leaders of various youth networks, head of states, media figures and around 250 young Egyptian expats.
The forum aims to spread a message of peace, prosperity, harmony, and progress around the world. The forum is built on four pillars and themes: 1) global youth issues, 2) sustainable development, technology, and entrepreneurship, 3) civilizations and culture, 4) creating future leaders.

NILE X: The first Egypt-made smartphone


Egypt’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has unveiled today the specifications of the first Egypt-made, Nile X, smartphone at Cairo ICT 2017. Manufactured by the Ministry of Communication-affiliated SICO Technology, the smartphone was made with 400 million Egyptian pounds in investment in the company’s factory in Assiut.

Egypt ranks 14th in 2017 Global Cybersecurity Index

Egypt has achieved a high ranking in the 2017 Global Cybersecurity Index, coming 14th out of 165 countries and second among the Arab countries. The new report highlights advances in Egypt’s cybersecurity efforts, a full range of cooperation initiatives relating to cybersecurity and a number of bi-lateral and multilateral agreements.


  • The stats and figures are collected from the most recent reports in December 2017.
  • All sources included by the statistics provided.

Kindly let me know if you have any updates to add to the report or comments. For digital marketing consulting in Egypt’s market, target segment analysis and market research, contact me to discuss the key findings and opportunities.

How To Shift Your Marketing Team Into Data-Savvy Marketers?

To stay competitive in today’s data-first world, everyone in your marketing department—marketing data analyst or not—should know how to analyze and interpret marketing data, from customer insights and performance figures to overall ROI.

Marketing is at a crossroads, and now is the time for digital to stop monitoring and dive into data to extract more efficient tactics for targeting and spending. The marketing technology, cloud computing, and machine learning are expanding beyond the expectations and the face of marketing will change before you even know it.

According to a recent survey by Econsultancy, two-thirds of marketers said their organizations do not yet have data analyst and data-related goals. The study showed that leading marketers who outperformed their KPIs appeared to have found a solution for achieving these results: Enable everyone on the team on how to be data-savvy. Nearly 60% of leaders say that in their organizations today, marketers get specialized training on how to use their data and analytics resources.

It is not the tools, it is the human

Marketers are looking now at floods of real-time data that needs to be effective in consumer segmentation, content creation, and channel proliferation. Yet, the majority of the data are currently used for just monitoring and fixing nice looking monthly reports. The big issue is not about technology and tools under your hand, it is more about the human professionals who are creating paths for this data from demanding to analysis and decision making.

The human capital skills are the most important factor in the data-driven marketing department. They are the ones who can research and decided which data is more important for the business. The more sophisticated the data you have the more dynamic your team should be. Your team should be data-savvy and data-driven in every step of strategy and execution.

Start with the head

Over the years, I have been involved in the needs of CMOs and CEOs for reports that tell nothing, usually some traditional requests for traffic, organic and social media proofs which belong to the stone ages of digital marketing. This kind of directions can be misleading for the marketing department objectives since reports are more important for the marketers themselves.

Top management should change their mentality and start learning more about the importance of data through attribution models and funnels. They should be more aware of how the proper insights from their team can change the whole assumption of consumer persona and strategy tactics.

Shift your marketing mentality

The marketing team should have two main skills, creative and analytical thinking. The old times of launching seasonal creative campaigns are already gone. Marketing now is more about science mixed with creativity. Every approach should be supported by insights, every project should have data analytics in the early stages, every achievement in KPIs should be identified by analysis, every single marketer of your team should be fully responsible with measuring and analyzing the data.

Creativity will be always playing a key role in digital marketing, but with the right analysis in place, you are able to drive the creativity cart on the right track and adjust the budget allocation more sufficiently. For more information on this topic, check my previous article: How To Shift Your Marketing Team to Data Science and Marketing Technology?

data-savvy marketers

Fix the skill gaps with your team

You will need to study your team structure and figure out their skills. Empower their skills with training modules on topics like data science, marketing technology, and automation trends. The team should master the use of CRM data, web analytics, sheets and charts. Don’t only rely on hiring data analyst who can do the magic. Your team should always have the skills of putting data insights into proper context and metrics.

75% of marketers agree that lack of training on data analytics is the biggest barrier to making more key business decisions based on data insights.

Maintain easy and reliable access to data

Before dealing with your data, make sure it’s presentable. As they say, Good data is usable data, and that means it should be always real-time, organized, secure, and understandable. Establish clear definitions and KPI metrics so everyone in digital marketing team can speak the same language.

Leaders are 33% more likely to say that their data analytics explains how the business defines and measures the consumer persona and touch points the online journey.

According to the Econsultancy survey, standing out as a point of difference between leaders and laggards is an understanding of the customer journey across channels; while an astonishing 90% of all marketers believe that understanding the cross-channel experience is “critical to marketing success,” only 43% of the mainstream report having a “clear understanding of customers’ journeys across channels and devices,” compared to 64% of leaders.

Set the standards and metrics

Set a baseline for knowledge requirements and analytics. Set proper timeframes that is effective for your business case and define the level of accuracy. Don’t just sail in the sea of tools and charts without a compass. With proper research, you can set the standards which the team should follow in their monitoring and reporting.

From my experience, too much of reports is a misleading thing. It is better to define what you really need to make a decision or otherwise you will be overwhelmed with the lovely interactive charts that data platforms provide. I also recommend to acknowledge and reward the team members who apply effective tactics based on data insights while they launch their campaigns.

Fuel the team with technology

Make sure you have the right technology needed to take action. To drive your marketing team towards a competitive edge in the market or among competitors, you need to select your technology and platforms wisely.

Based on your needs from insights and automation, define which platform you should invest in. Don’t follow the tones of advertisements online and the on-going offers from software companies. A powerful solution is not based on the brand of the software, it more based on your needs and how effectively you are going to use it on daily bases.

Your team should be always in the middle of every technology implemented. Arrange training for the whole team and get them always up-to-date with technology trends. Hire a marketing technologist in-house who can be always involved in researching an integration of technology.

With these few tips, I believe you can have an overview of this mission. If you have a question or looking for marketing analytics consultant drop me a line and let’s discuss.

How To Shift Your Marketing Team to Data Science and Marketing Technology?

Data-driven marketing has transformed from an innovative approach to a fundamental part of digital marketing, performance, automation and most importantly business strategy.

A few years ago, most of the digital marketers were more artists than scientists. Although creative thinking is one of the most required talents in the marketers but let me tell you, the future is so soon and we are getting more and more data about our customers every day.

Digital marketing is now based on the data more than before, and the need for data analytics and marketing technology is essential.

Over the course of my career in various entrepreneurial and marketing roles —in a wide variety of fields— I’ve discovered that any marketing team without advanced marketing analytics are helpless and certainly going off-track. Relying on marketing technology to extract and analyze all relevant data can help the marketing team to accomplish tasks they couldn’t before.

Collecting consumers data on every level internally and externally will allow the marketer to interact and target consumer intelligently and define the most efficient budget allocation that can bring ROI for the organization.

Marketing Analytics vs Creative

To accomplish the shift in your marketing department, you first need to change two main things:

Changing The Marketing Functions

Data science is fundamentally changing the way we view and interact with digital marketing functions inside companies. It’s had an enormous impact on the digital marketing department set of objectives and functionality within the organization. With professional data analytic team on board, you can accomplish several new tasks that you didn’t encounter before.

Let me give you a list of business tasks your data-driven marketing team can achieve:

  • Empower management and investors to make better decisions with online insights and analysis.
  • Connect business objectives more efficiently with marketing performance. You can track the marketing ROI and get the ability to invest more sufficiently in growing your customer base.
  • Identifying the customer’s persona by analyzing the online funnel and consumer journey. This can help businesses in developing their products, enhancing customer support and improving sales efforts.
  • Building data-driven approaches to reach prospects in strategic, scaled ways. Understand how we can grow is the most important topic for senior management.
  • Personalizing campaigns to generate more add value and better relation with the customers and to leverage your brand voice in the market.
  • Approaching clients effectively by highlighting products and content that solve specific customer pain points and interests which would lead to more sales.
  • Optimizing the marketing budget and advertising spend by investing efficiently and tracking intelligently (Which is a major headache for decision makers).
  • Challenging the digital marketing team to adopt best practices and focus on achieving ROI by following accurate KPIs.
  • Benefiting from AI and Machine Learning technology into the marketing department which keeps your team highly strategic and more accurate with future planning and forecasting results.

The new role of the CMO is to maximize the benefits of market and consumer data for the whole organization. Marketing is not limited anymore to attracting consumers or establishing new markets expansion, it is now a key player in building the business strategy and decision making.

Digital marketing case: The CEO is totally convinced that my digital department task is to drive qualified leads while I insisted that we can help with investing decisions. We analyzed the location-based data for many retail points and were able to come up with effective insights on where we should expand and how to customize our services for each location. The data collected from CRM, website analytics and social media trends were very effective in exploring the gaps and fixing it.  

Building new schemes for data, sharing insights and providing real-time feedback to other departments is becoming one of the most important functions of the marketing department and CMOs. It is not anymore the game of promoting services and products, but it is expanding to calculate ROI effectively and enhancing the business structure.

Changing The Marketing Mindset

Machine learning, data science, and predictive analytics are the new, increasingly crucial complements to traditional marketing best practices. But they require new technical talents on your marketing team, specialists who can bring science into each step of your marketing process. That requires a mindset shift in how you manage in marketing a data-first world.

  • Experimental Mind: A critical part of our mindset shift with using new technologies and analysis tools includes fully embracing testing and experimentation. You should put this approach to work as part of your efforts to generate leads, create a user experience and distributing your advertising budget among paid channels.Given the huge volume of performance data and the need for real-time optimization, data analytics and machine learning will become the core of your campaign success. These tools enabled us to test hypotheses and make targeting decisions at the campaign level rather than the channel level—something marketer couldn’t have accomplished manually.
  • Statistical Mind: A critical part of our mindset shift with using analytic tools includes fully embracing statistics over prejudgements. The experimentation of extracting data about your qualified leads can totally shift the way you are tailoring your content strategy or marketing message.
    Digital marketing case: Take the challenge of knowing who, of the people who sign for trial version, will convert to paid users. Typically you would need to wait weeks and different assumptions to understand which campaign was successful. Relying on likes and views might give you an indication of your most popular content but at the end ROI is ROI.  With advanced analytics and machine learning, we’re able to know the likelihood of a channel bringing in the right people to lower funnel, significantly improving ROI.
  • Technical Mind: Marketing technology tools help you make better decisions by uncovering the information relations, context and flow at a level of granularity that wasn’t possible before. However, marketing technology is getting more and more sophisticated thanks to E-commerce major demands on technology and machine learning.Back in time, digital marketing team used to rely more on creativity and no wonder the field was full of advertisers moving from traditional to digital along with the shift in the budget allocation from traditional to digital.Today, digital marketing is becoming more technology-centric which require marketers to be more solid in data science, analysis, and strategy.Yes, digital marketing teams should hire a marketing technologists who are able to configure platforms and marketers who are able to deal with complicated tools such as marketing automation platforms and programmatic advertising. Your team of marketers should combine the skills of creative thinking and advanced analytics “the marketing and the science”. This is where I see the next wave of marketing innovation.

What should we learn the most?

Here are three lessons I’ve learned about blending science and marketing:

    • Insights are more important than data: Focus on extracting the right insights that matter the most. The analytic team should be connected tightly to the business objective. Break your business needs into smaller, discrete questions. Rather than trying to drive more overall traffic to your website, for instance, focus on driving repeat visits within a particularly valuable segment.
    • Optimize the data process and availability: Capturing and managing data in a consistent manner throughout the organization. But remember that it can quickly become overwhelming, especially when you’re working across different countries and regions.
    • Focus on establishing reliable and accurate data sources: One team may input data that are incompatible with another team’s data, making it difficult to analyze both sets in consistent ways.
    • Maintain data sources and access: Focus on data integrity in how you collect, manage, and store information, you’ll avoid longer process for decision making and spending time figuring out how to compare apples to oranges.

This is my contribution, feel free to get a free ask questions or request for marketing analytics consultancy.

Infographic: The Latest Facebook Statistics For MEA – Released November 2017

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) reported financial results for the 3rd quarter of 2017. The social media giant released the third quarter 2017 results on November 1, 2017. The following statistics highlight some of the top Facebook statistics in the MEA region (The Middle East & Africa):

Facebook Statistics for MEA region

  • Daily active users: 160 million or 56% of monthly active people return every day in the Middle East and Africa.
  • Monthly active users: 285 million people access Facebook every month in the MEA region.
  • Egypt: 37 million people access Facebook every month with over 22 million or 59% of monthly active people return every day.
  • Saudi Arabia: 17 million people access Facebook every month with over 9.8 million or 58% of monthly active people return every day.
  • UAE: 83 million people access Facebook every month with over 5.9 million or 71% of monthly active people return every day.
  • South Africa: 18 million people access Facebook every month with over 10 million or 56% of monthly active people return every day.
  • Kenya: 7.8 million people access Facebook every month with over 4 million or 51% of monthly active people return every day.
  • Nigeria: 23 million people access Facebook every month with over 11 million or 48% of monthly active people return every day.

Infographic facebook statistics mea 2017

According to the reports, Facebook continues to grow in the MEA region. Egypt still represents the highest daily rate for users with over 22 million users a month. UAE has the highest rate of MEA for daily active users with 71%.

Although, the latest researchers from Northwestern University of Qatar shows that WhatsApp tops the list of social media used by nationals across the Middle East with two-thirds of nationals using it, compared to a marginally lower rate for Facebook and only one-half using YouTube. According to the study, Facebook penetration declined by 20 percentage points since 2013 (94% in 2013 to 74% in 2017), with significant drops in both Saudi Arabia. The study also found that Facebook usage increased significantly in Egypt.

Facebook Statistics for global markets

  • Global daily active users: 1.37 billion on average for September 2017, an increase of 16% year-over-year
  • Global monthly active users: 2.07 billion as of September 2017, an increase of 16% year-over-year. Instagram also hit a big milestone this quarter, now with 500 million daily actives.
  • Daily active users in USA & Canada: 185 million as of September 2017.
  • Daily active users in Europe: 274 million as of September 2017.
  • Daily active users in Asia: 476 million as of September 2017.
  • Mobile advertising revenue: Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 88% of advertising revenue for the third quarter of 2017, up from approximately 84% of advertising revenue in the third quarter of 2016
  • Capital expenditures: Capital expenditures for the third quarter of 2017 were $1.76 billion
  • Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities: $38.29 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2017.

Download the report released for investors for more insights on Facebook revenue: Facebook Q3 2017 Results

Statistically, Facebook is becoming even bigger. According to The Social Skinny report, 50% of 18-24 year-old go on Facebook when they wake up!

What does this mean? Facebook is becoming a big part of the younger generation lives and potentially, so is the content you post on it.

The Difference Between Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning

The hottest topics that everyone is talking about right now are Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), and often seem to be mysterious terms for many people.

AI and Machine learning are not quite the same, but since the majority of new trends in technology are using these terms can sometimes lead to some confusion. In this article, I thought it would be worth writing topic to explain the difference.

Since Big Data, analytics, IoT and many other waves of technology are hugely investing in enhancing the Machine Learning, I had so many questions about what it means? and why it is getting bigger and bigger every day?

The Definitions of AI and ML

The short answer for that is: “Machine Learning is an advanced application of AI based on the concept that we shouldn’t only automate the data but to let the machines learn for themselves”.

Now, what is AI? “Artificial Intelligence AI is considered as automation, it is the broader concept of machines being able to access data and carry out tasks in a way that we would consider smart”.

With understanding the basic concepts of the two methods, let’s dig further…

AI from complex calculations to decision making process

Artificial Intelligence has been around for a long time already, the idea started since the Greek myths contain stories of mechanical men designed to mimic our own actions. In modern times and after the rise of computers technology, software engineers started to move from complex calculations towards creating mechanical brains. The field of AI concentrated on mimicking human decision making processes and accomplishing tasks intelligently and more efficient.

Devices designed to use AI are often classified into one of two groups which are applied or general. Applied AI is currently more common in our daily life such as manufactories, stocks trading, autopilot systems and more. While general AIs systems can, in theory, handle different tasks or let’s say it is less common tasks. It is also the area that has led to the development of Machine Learning.AI and ML

AI and Marketing Technology

AI is already in use in a myriad of digital marketing use cases. From analytic tools, to search engine optimization, to Google AdWords to content curation, to email marketing, to marketing automation platforms, different tools are already being used as fundamentally in digital marketing sphere. Those tools are not only to make human marketers’ lives easier but to get do the tasks in more responsive and cost-effective ways. When processes are optimized and made faster by technology, not only can businesses achieve better conversions, but marketers also have more time freed up for strategic thinking, campaign design, and data analysis when they aren’t bogged down with more basic tasks.

The Rise of Machine Learning

The Machine Learning has been shaped by two important factors: Arthur Samuel in 1959 released the concept of “Instead of teaching computers all what they need to know to carry out tasks, why we don’t teach it to learn for themselves”.

Later on, the internet took control with a huge increase in the amount data being generated and stored, providing the second breakthrough for machine learning. The urge for more advanced solutions to handle the data floods was increasing rapidly.

Apparently, engineers realized that it is far more efficient to code machines to think like human beings, and then plug them into the internet to give them access to all of the information in the world.

Neural Networks

The development of neural networks was the key to start teaching machines to think while retaining the innate advantages they hold over us such as efficiency, processing speed, and lack of bias.

Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning

So what are neural networks? It is a computer system designed to classify the information in the same way as our brain does. These networks can be programmed to recognize complex things such as images or voices and classify them accordingly. This coding works on a system of probability based on data fed to it. The neural networks are able to generate statements, decisions or even predictions with a degree of certainty. The magical step for those systems is the addition of a feedback loop which enables “learning” or customization of the experience.

Tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, and many more, started to take advantage of machine learning to not just enhance their products but get it more advanced. Machine learning now is controlling your Facebook feeds, search engine results, Netflix recommendations, display advertising and Email spam filters.

Furthermore, another field of AI called, Natural Language Processing (NLP) has become a source of hugely exciting innovation in the last few years, and one which is heavily reliant on ML. NLP applications attempt to understand natural human communication and able to respond. This technology currently has one of the biggest competitions in products such as  Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

The Game of Marketing and Advertising

The term Machine Learning certainly gives marketing teams a shiny and attractive language to impress. The big players in digital advertising are pushing aggressively on increasing advertisers budget by developing a programmatic bidding with ML.

Machine learning

I believe the game is not that sufficient yet for many reasons, programmatic learning for platforms such as Facebook advertising and DoubleClick is still full of gaps and not doesn’t serve will with smaller budget advertisers. The machine learning is still on the producer side and heavily serving it is objectives. Although the Facebook algorithm is so advanced and presents a great value for digital marketers but yet the efficiency is not perfect in many cases.

Marketing automation and analytic platforms are still far behind when it comes to machine learning. There is still a long road to go with machine learning capabilities that can hugely shift the digital marketing once and forever. In my next article, I will investigate more in the case of machine learning for marketing and another trending buzzword – deep learning.

I hope this piece has helped a few people understand the distinction between AI and ML.

Yasser Ahmad
Digital Marketing Consultant